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Learning Archive - 2008 Programming
Through the years many opportunities for learning have been offered at Church of the Redeemer. We are keeping track of what has gone before as a window into the life of the community. Here are 2008's offerings.
Telling the Story 2008 (The Torah)
Stephen Reynolds selected films from his personal collection for screening in Lent:
“This Lent, Faith on Film – now in its fourth year – will be showing five movies which seem to be all over the map of cinema, from British comedy to Technicolor epic to Biblical story to Monty Python satire. But these five films actually have a common theme: the life of faith-informed conscience in a world where such a life leads to conflict, frustration, and loss.” Screenings were:
The Nativity Story (2006) – starring Keisha Caste-Hughes and Oscar Isaac. A film about the lives of Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus. It is faithful to the biblical stories, and done quietly, almost gently, without the hoopla or the stilted (and somewhat creepy) piousness of Hollywood.
Heavens Above! (1963) – starring Peter Sellers, Cecil Parker, Ian Carmichael. Thanks to muddle in an archdeacon’s office, an idealistic young priest (Sellers) is appointed Vicar of a small and struggling parish in rural England. He lands in lots of trouble with his parishioners, with his bishop and, especially, with the archdeacon (Parker) – and ends up being promoted to a very unique ministry.
Becket (1965) – starring Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole. Thomas Becket was chancellor (chief advisor) and intimate friend of England’s King Henry II. In 1162 Henry had Becket made archbishop of Canterbury as a safe and easy way to make the Church in England more malleable to the royal will. The two friends then had a truly royal falling-out, and the king’s frustrated anger at Becket led some knights of Henry’s retinue to murder the archbishop in 1170. This is the film-adaptation of Jean Anouilh’s play about their conflict. It is Hollywood in its most Technicolor-epic mode – and Burton and O’Toole in full, over-over-the-top star-modes.
Amazing Grace (2007) – starring Ioan Gruffudd, Ciaran Hinds, Albert Finney. The story of William Wilberforce (Gruffudd), whose conversion to “real Christianity” made him lead the twenty-year campaign to abolish the slave-trade throughout the British Empire. (Wilberforce is commemorated in our calendar of saints on July 31st; 2007 was the 200th anniversary of the Act of Parliament which marked “Wilber’s” victory).
The Life of Brian (1979) – starring the Monty Python troupe. Like all Monty Python productions, this is an outrageous satire. But the troupe is not satirising Jesus, or religion, or faith. They are satirising Hollywood’s “filmizations” of Jesus’ life.
Lent starts with fire. Ashes are a sign of our mortality. But might they whisper much more about the ways we burn with restlessness, and long for connection with other people and a place to call home? Andrew Federle led discussions on the following topics: Restlessness as Root of the Spiritual Life; Staying Home on Friday Night; Sexuality and the Single Life; The Longing for Home.
Statue of Julian of Norwich, Norwich Cathedral, by David Holgate FSDC
"This is a vision shown by the goodness of God to a devout woman, and her name is Julian, that is recluse at Norwich and is still living, Anno Domini 1413..."
So begins a scribe’s introduction to Julian of Norwich’s Revelation of Love, one of the most remarkable classics of Christian spirituality. Particularly beloved by many feminist Christians, Julian’s work also figures significantly in the revisionist theology of contemporary writers like Matthew Fox.
How is it that this medieval woman can still address us so powerfully today? Professor Anne Savage, a scholar of medieval women’s religious writing in the Department of English at McMaster University, observes, "Julian's certainty of the love of her maker is rooted in the physical and mental suffering which cannot be avoided by human beings. Her own experience as a woman apparently dying in pain, and then for years as a recluse meditating on the paradox, clarify how this is possible."
On Tuesday, May 13, 2008, the 635th anniversary of Julian’s revelation, we heard that voice for ourselves. Professor Savage and Dr. Elaine Ramshaw, a Lutheran pastoral theologian, briefly introduced Julian’s work. Then, with a brief intermission halfway through, and a final meditative hymn, a group of some dozen readers organized by David Townsend presented the Short Text, Julian’s original witness to a luminous vision of the redemption of suffering by a Love that, in her best-known words, "shall make all things well."
A guided architectural tour from a theological and liturgical perspective was offered on two evenings. Paul Couillard, Architect, and Andrew Asbil, Incumbent, guided us through the theology behind the symbols and architectural features of the worship space. During the second session, we celebrated an instructed Eucharist. The group explored how architecture, seating arrangements and space helped to inform our worship.
Redeemer Readers under the leadership of Carol Finlay and Erna Redekopp offered an opportunity for interesting reading and thought-provoking discussion. The books chosen for discussion were theological in nature, with an emphasis on contemporary Christian themes:
Three separate courses of four sessions each hosted by our Incumbent were offered. Each session started with a shared meal followed by Bible study and discussion of the theme for the evening.
In The Beginning
This four-part series for newcomers began at the beginning by examining basics about the Church of the Redeemer, Anglicanism, the Liturgy, and faith.
Was the Word
This series explored key themes in our spiritual lives: Sacramental Living; How to Read Scripture; Approaches to Prayer; and Social Justice: How You Can Make a Difference.
And It Was Good
The third course looked at what it means to be a member of the Church of the Redeemer through four themes: Popular Tunes and Sacred Songs, We are a Paschal People, The Evangelist Within, and Bread for Your Journey. These workshops were held at the Duke of York Pub.
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